MENDON - Mendon resident Greg Smith is settling into a new
challenge: running Vermont's lottery system.
Smith spent most of the last five years at the Vermont Country
Store, serving as director of strategic cost management and as
director of operations, and finance manager before that. He
succeeded Alan Yandow, who ran the lottery for 14 years before
deciding to retire.
"It was a new challenge," Smith said, "and my skills are highly
transferable. I saw the ad in the newspaper, and it was a very
appealing job description, so I applied. The commission interviewed
me, and then the governor."
Smith said the lottery is like any other business, but "people have
a variety of opinions. It's already very profitable, and I am
fortunate to have 700 outlets to work with."
Smith said he hasn't been in the job long enough to announce his
vision for the lottery or any future plans.
"Alan ran a solid organization, and I'm still getting a feel for
what it is," he said. "Everything's got to be managed in accordance
with the legislation, and for the welfare of the people in the
state of Vermont."
Two of the things Smith likes most about the lottery, he said, are
the fact that profits go into education, and that the lottery
offers people a chance to change their lives.
"I did play the lottery before I took this job," he said. "I only
played periodically. I think most players realize that very few of
us will win $1 million, let alone $100 million. I'd love to be able
to hand you a check for $100 million, but a check for even $1,000
can change things for people. There are a lot of smaller games out
there that can do quite a bit of good."
The Vermont Lottery system celebrates its 45th anniversary in 2012.
The seeds were sown in 1976, when two-thirds of voting Vermonters
decided a state lottery would be a good idea and supported it in a
statewide referendum. In 1977, the Legislature authorized the
lottery for three years, with a proviso to continue, and
appropriated $250,000 to begin. A year and a half later, the
lottery commission repaid the $250,000.
The lottery has been reauthorized ever since and is now
The lottery commission solicited candidates from all over the
country before settling on Smith. In announcing his selection,
Lottery Commission Chairwoman Martha O'Connor of Brattleboro said,
"The Lottery Commission thanks Alan Yandow for his 14 years of
exceptional service to Vermont. After the nationwide search, we are
pleased to be moving forward with the appointment of Greg
What about new games?
"There are games we need to pay attention to," Smith said. "We hope
to have some new games in place. Maybe in a year."
Besides his time at the Vermont Country Store, Smith owned and
operated the Vermont Inn in Mendon. He has also worked for a large
pharmaceutical concern and the Hyatt hotel chain.